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International Istanbul Initiative on Ageing – Plenary Panels

Leaders: Intergenerational Solidarity

The world faces a series of interconnected challenges from global leadership imbalances, resource scarcity, natural and man-made disasters and climatic changes to a rapidly ageing world. The unwavering social and economic pressures of a volatile economic market coupled with increasing dependency ratios causes heightened awareness of the impact population ageing will have on the livelihood of all nations.
Overcoming economic, political and social adversity, understanding the detriment of inaction, and “ephemeralization” – doing more with less until eventually you can do everything with nothing – could well define ageing in the new world.

The conceptualization that sustainability and prosperity in the new world will be defined by how best a nation enables and cares of their older people, a country that acknowledges the existing social capital of older adults, and the action and resultant outcome of an inclusive society.
National leaders are instrumental in influencing and shaping how a nation will address population ageing. Political unity will ultimately alter what ageing means in the new world.

Economic Prospects of Ageing

While increased longevity is surely one of humanity’s great achievements, the combination of rising life expectancy and falling fertility has led to a considerable aging of the world population. This population aging poses significant challenges to developed and developing countries alike. As the share of the working-age population declines, output, and consequently economic growth, can potentially slow down. Moreover, an aging population often implies a decrease in tax revenues and an increase in public spending. However, longevity can be virtuous, even in combination with dropping fertility. Living longer and healthier lives directly contributes to improving the welfare of society. If, as they age, people remain healthy and use their human capital for longer, then they and society can also become more prosperous.

What stands in the way of reaping the full benefits of increased longevity? What policies and interventions can help to contain the possible negative impacts of decreased growth and the fiscal fallout from population aging? In addressing these questions, the panel will highlight the importance of adjustments not only in the public sphere (such as pensions, education, and healthcare systems), but also the potential for valuable private sector contributions, and individual-level behavioral change.

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Cities of the Future

Flourishing urbanization manifests in development of new cities being built while those lived in for centuries are being upgraded ‘and renovated’. The concepts of Healthy Cities, Smart Cities, Intelligent Cities, Sustainable Cities and now Age-friendly Cities have all marked a specific journey for urban and town planners, architects, industry giants such as Cisco and IBM, local and city governments, and even some families trying to create a livelihood within a community or town seemingly dying.

In essence, creating environments that enable, support and maximize human function are also catalytic to improving industry capacity and increasing employment opportunities. This highly charged session comprising thought leaders in the fields of construction and sustainability, health and aged care, governance, and housing will debate the “place of citizen” and an improved quality of life for all within fast moving infrastructure developments.

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Evidence to Action

Debates about the use of evidence in policy often stir up discussion and debate among academics, policy makers and practitioners as well as non-governmental organizations in the field of advocacy. The shift in the language from ‘evidence-based’ policy to the more measured evidence-informed policy making is a subtle sign of change.

At the heart of the debate is the imperative for evidence-based or evidence-informed age-related policy. This plenary panel comprises several of the most experienced and published academics in the field of ageing who discuss the step-wise progression of policies against the landscape of a nation’s demographic profile.

How can the tension inherent in the use of evidence in policy making affect researchers (particularly social science researchers) and policy makers; and where can the interface of research and politics find a common ground –resulting in the best possible solution for society.

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Game Changers

Game changers are visionaries, opportunists, individuals who uses that key moment in time to influence the promise and opportunity for a new and improved way of living in an ageing society.

Notwithstanding the power of any single person, the dramatic demographic shift and its consequences is highly regarded as the “game changer” of the 21st century. If left unchanged, social and economic structures will undoubtedly be negatively affected under the weight of misperception, discrimination and lost opportunities to recognize the social and economic value of older people.

It is these game changing events and the game changers amongst us that will set the stage for a bigger and brighter future, where the status quo is no longer relevant in today’s discussion.
Game changers in their own rights, this expert panel will speak to the bigger picture, the need to shift paradigms from status quo to innovation. Moreover, they will highlight disquiets such as gender and family roles and sustainability measures; and the concerns embedded within some volatile and uncertain economies.

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Revolutionizing Care

A radical shift in thought, innovation and action is required in the development of models and modes of care to meet the expectations of future generations of older people. Against the backdrop of globalization and urbanization, country and regional trends in population ageing provide unique opportunities to examine the effectiveness of aged care policy; and the applicability of various models of care to younger countries.

The pursuit of longevity is not without its dangers and compromises –increasing frailty leading to falls and fractures, serious life-changing cognitive deficits leading to a loss of identity, and loneliness and being alone leading to depression are the reality for some older people.

Evidence and innovation in the pursuit of excellence of care for older people is not an option, it is a responsibility that as knowledge holders we have.
Experts and leaders in the field of care innovation, evidence based age care policy and brain health will inform and debate the most pressing issues of the current and new era in care as it relates to system change. It is time for the revolution.

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After the MDGs – Where are all the Older People

The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. Extreme poverty halved since 1990, millions more girls in school, fewer children dying each day, and fighting killer diseases like AIDS, malaria and Tuberculosis. While further efforts and a strong global partnership for development are needed to accelerate progress and reach the goals by 2015, the plight and lives of older people is ashamedly absent from the MDGs and the targets.

The United Nations Secretary-General appointed a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons in July 2012 to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The post-2015 agenda aims to be founded on a coherent global framework with a single agenda embracing economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Despite the success of the MDGs not enough attention has been paid to the very poorest and the marginalized and vulnerable, including people with disabilities, children, women, and older people.

Furthermore, underpinning the post 2015 agenda is the need to strengthen global governance to ensure it is fit for its purpose; avoid overlap and the duplication of efforts; and encourage joint work to address cross-cutting issues.

This session is set at a pivotal time on the development of the post 2015 agenda so it is with great pleasure that UN agencies including (UN DESA, UNECE, UN DP, and UNFPA) will present a status report while also describing some of the challenges in the development and consensus building of agenda.

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Defining the Future Today

Population ageing, globalization and urbanization are transformative drivers of the demographic landscape and of current and future generations. The nature and mode of employment, emerging fiscal priorities associated with ‘retirement’, technological advances in health and social care, and the changing dynamics of the family are just some of the interplaying dynamics in defining the future.

Alongside the unprecedented challenges and opportunities is the most important and rapidly growing market of our time – older people who are not only consumers and contributors, but also a cohort viewed by many as a ‘burden’.

While the market segment is appreciated in respect of ‘the numbers’ there is less confidence as to where industry and government should place the greatest emphasis.
What is the tipping point – is it effective formal care, is it technology to measure vital signs so that even the most frail can remain in their residence of choice, or is it to maximize the ‘new human touch’ through the latest social media. What role can industry play in effecting positive change through innovation and how can civil society marry the innovations with the needs of the citizen to better advocate.

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Global Business Leaders

In the business world, global aging is having an impact on everything from business strategy and labor productivity to retirement savings and major shifts in global capital flows.  For markets to adapt and succeed, the increasing need for mechanisms that promote active and healthy ageing must be met, and the business community plays a profound role in driving the innovation and leading the changes that contribute to sustainable and thriving nations and communities.  Speakers will focus on the changing global landscape brought on by ageing, how businesses are adapting, and the lessons emerging markets can learn from older societies in more developed regions.

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